The original story of Jussie Smollett being attacked by two white men in MAGA hats is old, but it keeps getting revived as the follow-on drama unfolds.
After orginally treating him as a victim, Chicago Police came to believe that Smollett paid two brothers, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, $3,500 to carry out an attack to advance his career.
After burning countless man hours chasing down leads and piecing together neighborhood video, the police eventually charged Smollett with several crimes, including filing false reports.
But prosecutors abruptly dropped the charges on Tuesday.
In an ABC News interview, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said:
Let’s get to the bottom of this. Let’s find out what happened.
Emanuel said Smollett had “abused” the city of Chicago, a day after the actor walked out of court saying he had been vindicated in insisting he had not staged a racist assault against him.
On Tuesday, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office said it stood by its accusation against Smollett but was dropping all the charges, saying the actor’s prior community service and his agreeing to forfeit his $10,000 bond was a just outcome.
Chicago’s chief prosecutor, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, defended her office’s decision in an interview with WBEZ on Wednesday as being proportionate to the charges.
“What I can tell you is that most people who come through the criminal justice system don’t give up $10,000 of their hard-earned money, or engage in volunteer services connected with an alleged offense, without viewing that as a way of being held accountable,” she said.
Smollett was charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct. Compared with the 530 murders that happened in Chicago last year, filing a false report to further your acting career or even hate on people you don’t like seems pretty tame.
To be sure, the murder rate in Chicago is headed the right direction, down from 781 in 2016 and 664 in 2017. But it’s still high, and last year’s murders included people aged 1 to 93.
Smollett caused a stir in the political world. He used racial animosity, political persuasion, and homophobia as weapons. But his crimes pale in comparison to what the Chicago PD must deal with every day.
If we’re strictly considering his offenses and the fact that he’s a first-time offender and not a threat, then community service and a fine is most likely a reasonable outcome.